PerspectiveChemistry

Bioinspired Oxidation Catalysts

See allHide authors and affiliations

Science  04 Jan 2013:
Vol. 339, Issue 6115, pp. 43-44
DOI: 10.1126/science.1232220

You are currently viewing the summary.

View Full Text

Summary

Imines are key intermediates in the synthesis of fine chemicals and numerous biologically active compounds. They have traditionally been prepared through condensation of amines with carbonyl compounds, but the latter are extremely active and thus difficult to handle. A powerful alternative strategy involves coupling primary alcohols and amines through catalytic alcohol activation by temporary oxidation to an aldehyde (1). However, with few exceptions (2), these aerobic oxidative reactions require high reaction temperatures and catalysts that contain expensive and rare metals. Furthermore, this approach is challenging because imines can readily undergo hydrogenation (3). Recently developed metalloenzyme-like catalytic systems allow the aerobic oxidation of amines to imines under very mild conditions. They are environmentally friendly because they avoid the use of oxidants, energy-consuming processing steps, and undesirable reaction media.